Data Concentrated Solution
1 Current Problems
1.1 Common Problems for Enterprises
With the surge in market competition, raw material cost and labor cost, enterprises are increasingly aware of the importance of owning intellectual property and innovation ability. Many have invested large quantities of manpower and materials in product R&D, and purchased a great deal of advanced design software and management software. This has enhanced innovation ability of enterprises but also caused problems in management. Examples are as follows.
●Difficulty of managing electronic files
It is difficult to manage electronic files for their large quantity, storage in different computers, diverse file formats and versions.
●Difficulty of guaranteeing accuracy of documents
Electronic documents are easy to be modified, thus making it difficult for their accuracy to be guaranteed. The same goes for their consistency and effectiveness because of frequent file modification, confusion among versions, mutual borrowing and complex references.
●Difficulty of file sharing
Enterprise members need to spend much time in file search query for lack of effective access to required electronic files, and they are likely to again spend much time in recreating files because of their failure to find those documents.
●Deficiency of collaboration among departments
It is difficult for in-house departments and enterprise members to share particular business files effectively. Such difficulty in accurate and smooth flow of information leads to adverse influence. For instance, a delay in informing the production department about modification of product drawings will result in quality accidents.
●Deficiency of knowledge accumulation capacity
There are few effective methods to ensure knowledge sharing given by enterprise members. Besides, it is difficult to accumulate and refine various kinds of knowledge due to labor mobility.
●Ineffective protection of enterprise knowledge
Electronic files and data bring problems about security and confidentiality of core business data.
●Poor resistance to disaster
In-house electronic files are stored in separate computers in enterprises, thus it can hardly avoid artificially malicious removal and natural disasters totally.
2 Proposed Solution
2.1 Profile of Project Scopes
Approaches to problems mentioned in the last chapter will be given later stage by stage. This project firstly elaborates on storage of large amounts of data and solution to mandatory data collection. In the next phase, data security, backup and disaster recovery will be further discussed based on the first phase of the project.
Targeted at R&D manufacturing enterprises and outward businesses, the following solutions are offered in terms of core business data, including product drawings, product pricing, product formulations, tenders, ISO documents, business contracts, office documents and other electronic drawing files.
2.2.1 Mandatory collection to secure ownership of drawing files
The software adopts the innovative disk sandboxie technology to redirect file saving in the Client, so that the file are not saved in the Local but mandatorily and directly saved in the Server. Mandatory and selective stipulation as to file types needed to be managed such as Word, AutoCAD, Solid works, Pro/E and UG is available. These files are directly and can only be saved in the Server (VDM works as the virtual disk from the Server to the Client) thus ensuring automatic and mandatory collection and management of electronic files instead of additionally separate file check-in. Thanks to that, no drawing files originally scattered on separate computers in enterprises are to lose owing to labor turnover, malicious deletion and formatting, system viruses, etc., therefore protecting enterprises' ownership of drawing files and enhancing their capacity of knowledge accumulation.
2.2.2 Backup and disaster recovery to ensure storage security of drawing files
Backup and disaster recovery of drawing files collected into the Server via VDM can be regularly and automatically provided by the system, therefore ensuring the security of collective storage in enterprises.
2.2.3 Permission directory to ensure the security of drawing file sharing
Electronic drawing files in the VDM file Server requires strict permissions to access for every user. Such permissions include visibility, browsing, opening, modifying, deleting, uploading, downloading, renaming, etc., which can effectively avoid leakage of in-house information as well as malicious deletion.
2.2.4 "No-localization" to secure the Client
Via no-disk and no-localization in the Client, all electronic drawing files are mandatorily saved in the VDM file Server thus effectively preventing copying and deleting in the Client.
2.2.5 Virtual disk to make three-dimensional design management safer
VDM applies the Server for mandatory collection of drawing files and the management mode of virtual disk directory in the Client, playing a positive role in managing three-dimensional drawing files of designing and manufacturing industry. It is because there is relevance among three-dimensional files and it is difficult for general file managing system to edit and modify files that are stored via the methods of check-in and check-out it adopts. On the contrary, the unique virtual disk permission directory in the Client can completely avoid those problems, therefore enabling three-dimensional files widely applied in manufacturing industry to be effectively managed. Besides, VDM also provides online preview of three-dimensional drawing files so that complex three-dimensional software can be saved in users' Client while browsing is available.
Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) adopts B/S architecture in the application layer and the Client adopts virtual DOS in the bottom layer for file controlling. With both layers well interacted and combined and "Virtual no-Disk" as its core technology architecture, VDM remedies defects (covering difficulty in collecting drawing files, inactive uses, difficulty in three-dimensional application and remote deployment, change in using habit, etc.) in traditional software (PDM included) for drawing files management, bringing differences in enterprise drawing file management.
2.3 Advantages of Virtual no-Disk Technology
2.3.1 Topology of Technical Architecture
2.3.2 "Virtual no-Disk" Technology in the Client
VDM virtually transforms Client computer system. It can selectively control permissions for read-only, modification, deletion and other operations of disks in the Client, operate the Client to be virtually no-disk, install and uninstall programs. Creating, modifying, saving and deleting files via programs are all required permissions. This effectively guarantees the security and stability of Client system and authority norms of program using.
2.3.3 Mandatory "no-Localization" Collection Technology
VDM adopts selectively mandatory "no-localization" collection technology in the Client. To make "no-localization" of drawing files (OFFICE, IMAGE, 2D, 3D, EDA, etc.) in the Client possible, storage management via mandatory collection into the Server in a united way and perfect order is required. By virtue of this, scattered large amounts of data have been collected mandatorily and enterprise knowledge has been accumulated thus facilitating sharing, backup and version management, etc. It also prevents copy and leakage of drawing files in the Client.
2.3.4 Technology of Permission Controlling and Filtering at the Bottom Layer
Via the technology of permission controlling and filtering at the bottom layer, VDM distributes permissions for visibility, read-only (opening and browsing), modification, deletion, downloading, uploading and renaming, time restriction, etc. of drawing files mandatorily collected to file Server according to users or user groups, which is specified to each file and folder. It completely hosts permissions to control files of Windows operation system and greatly improves the capacity to secure file permissions of enterprises.
2.3.5 File Directory Storage Technology
VDM file Server uses file directory technology to store large amounts of data of drawing files, and it supports multiple hard disks (supporting multi-Server arrays) of the same machine or multiple machines (cluster Servers) to be storage for data. Compared with other traditional systems such as PDM and OA, which adopt database to save and store files, file storage via VDM has greater advantages in scale, speed, stability and convenience.
2.3.6 B/S Off-Site Architecture Application Technology
VDM applies pure B/S architecture technology and supports remote Internet applications. Users can remotely access the system for file query, browsing, permission distribution, upload, download, process versions, and collaborative management. Inside enterprises, employees off-site office (on business trip or in the branch) can work collaboratively, while outside, enterprises can communicate with suppliers, customers and terminals, greatly enhancing remote collaborative communication and management capability as well as work efficiency.
2.3.7 Universal Search Query Technology
VDM applies universal search query technology. It provides fuzzy query and search of large amounts of data in enterprise file Server with a mode similar to that of Google and Baidu. It also offers advanced search which can do search query according to complex requirements provided by customers, and gives quick and accurate results they need, chiefly saving users’ cost of searching and obtaining drawing files.
2.3.8 Workflow Engine Technology
Standardized workflow engines are embedded in VDM, which supports customizing workflow according to actual needs, and releasing drafts, changing versions and upgrading inferior versions of drawing files via ECR/ECO process. It enables users to control versions in an effective and rigorous way, and utterly clears version confusion among drawing files in enterprises. In addition, VDM provides workflow recording, facilitating the entire workflow cycle management, including search for time, participants, process and descriptions, for users.
2.3.9 Visual Browsing Technology of Drawing Files
VDM provides B/S technology for online visual browsing. It supports browsing of more than 450 kinds of file formats (OFFICE, IMAGE, 2D, 3D, EDA, etc.) and provides marking. Therefore, users can browse drawing files, complex three-dimensional files in particular, without installing programs in the Client, and they can also save the cost of deploying appropriate software.
2.3.10 Three-dimensional Management Technology
VDM adopts the management mode of virtual disk directory in the Client and plays a positive role in managing three-dimensional drawing files of designing and manufacturing industry. It is because there is relevance among three-dimensional files and it is difficult for general file managing system to edit and modify files that are stored via the methods of check-in and check-out it adopts. On the contrary, the unique virtual disk permission directory in the Client can completely avoid those problems, thus enabling three-dimensional files widely applied in manufacturing industry to be effectively managed.
2.3.11 Coding Management Technology
VDM provides coding management technology of drawing files, whose coding rules can be determined based on random combinations of fixed value, optional value, time value (year, month and day), serial number, etc. Enterprises can decide their own coding rules for design drawings, contracts, orders, protocols, ISO files, etc. In this way, every drawing file collected has its own coding to guarantee its uniqueness and unstructured data has been structured, thus facilitating query and search.
2.3.12 Comparison between Virtual no-Disk Technology and Traditional Mode
2.4 VDM Function Scheme
3.1 A Comparative Analysis of "Virtual no-Disk" Mode and Traditional no-Disk Workstation Mode
3.1.1 Conception of "no-Disk"
"Disks" refer to computer hard disks, U disks, mobile hard disks and other storage devices.
The principle of traditional no-disk workstation is as follows. In the LAN, there is a system Server, where two operating systems are required, one is for its own running and the other is for the running of workstation. Hardware (such as motherboards, memory, etc.) except hard disks is included in the chassis of no-disk workstation, where bootable chips are required in network cards (general network cards do not install bootable chips, which can be purchased). When the no-disk workstation starts, bootable chips in network cards retrieve the required data from the system Server for users. Simply speaking, no-disk workstation separates hard disks and host computers, and it only operates without storing.
VDM is a set of innovative file managing system. The system, which adopts virtualized no-disk technology, actually owns disks. It has transformed the computer system in the Client by "virtualized no-disk", for which it controls certain permissions of disks in the Client such as read-only, modification, deletion, etc. It can also process the Client to be no-disk, make no-localization of files in the Client, and mandatorily collect drawing files into the storage that the Server virtualizes. File creating, editing and other operations are processed in the virtual disk of the Server. In this way, it takes resources (such as CPU, memory, etc.) in the Client computer to edit files while the results are mandatorily saved and stored in the Server, absolutely achieving effective and "no-disk" management of business files.
3.1.2 Application Analysis
The traditional no-disk system adopts virtual hard disks in the Server to run the Windows system locally in the no-disk workstation, whose hard disks are all directly driven by the Windows system. For lack of hard disks in the Client, all program files are installed in the Server, and the Server are responsible for all operations of the Client, which only works as a show terminal. Therefore, the Server cannot support some complex applications without advanced configurations. Even with advanced configurations, it is difficult for the Server to support many terminals for complex applications at the same time, which is the natural defect of traditional no-disk system. Traditional no-disk system once prevailed around 2000, but it failed to enter the mainstream enterprise market due to its inherent limitations in function and performance, and ultimately became a bar system, mainly used in bars, hotels, computer teaching and so on.
Targeted at R&D manufacturing enterprises and outward businesses, VDM is a software system for mandatory no-disk collection and integrated management of electronic drawing files, also unstructured data, such as design drawings, ISO documents, business contracts, etc. It largely meets the demand for management of electronic drawings, files and information in enterprises in a data, no-disk and secure way after mass and wide application of OFFICE, CAD and CAE. It also caters for collaborative working among employees and instant communication and sharing of in-house information. Via the VDM system, departments in enterprises can build a united and collaborative platform for enterprise file and knowledge management.
VDM and the traditional no-disk workstation system are similar in the concept of no-disk, namely, mandatorily no-disk collection, but they are greatly different in solution and application, as well as the following items.
Virtual no-Disk Mode
Hardware No-disk Workstation Mode
It is achieved via pure software program. There is no change in hard disk and other configurations in the Client computer. The "no-disk" Client is achieved via virtualized no-disk technology applied in the drives at the bottom layer.
It is achieved via software and hardware programs. There are no hard disks in the Local Client. PXE and other network cards are embedded.
Mandatory File Collection
Support. It can decide whether it is to mandatorily manage the Server in a collective way based on users, computers, file process and types.
Support. It mandatorily collects all files via no-disk hardware in the Client.
Support. It also supports multi-Server cloud.
Support. It also supports multi-Server cloud.
Supposed that there are 100 Clients, only a Server with hard disks of 10T and memory of 4G is required. General Servers are priced at 1-3W each.
It has a high demand for the Server, and generally a minicomputer is required, which is priced at 15W. It also has a poor support for large-scale design software.
Disk in the Client
Yes. It is achieved via software with the existing hardware. There are personal local disks.
Yes. It is achieved via software and hardware, and PXE and other network cards are embedded. There are no personal local disks.
It is for business applications, mainly for accumulation and management of drawing files in enterprises.
It is chiefly applied in bars, education and hotels.
Support for Large-Scale Software
Support. Large-scale software (such as three-dimensional design software and engineering software) is still installed in the Client, with its data transferred to the Server. The performance of large-scale software is supported by the local PC.
Cannot support. It has an inadequate memory and other configurations, so it can only support office operation. It is because the Server is not only where data is transferred into but also where the software runs, and such mode cannot meet these requirements.
Security Permission Management
Powerful. It is authorized in a detailed way. The authorization can be based on folders, files, departments, roles, posts and persons. During the process of workflow approval, file permissions are automatically locked.
It only has a few of simple permissions.
File Browsing and Searching
Yes. It has built-in browsers and supports attribute definition and a variety of query methods.
Internet Approval Process
Yes. It has built-in file release and modification process, and it supports process customization.
Yes. It supports manageability of process versions and official versions of documents.
File Operation Monitoring
It has perfect file operation monitoring, with detailed records of persons who create, modify and delete files.
Deployment and Maintenance
It is simple to maintain the Server. The Client requires general maintenance.
It has built-in software for backup, which can be achieved via a general Server with increased-capacity hard disk.
It needs to purchase additional software for backup and it is expensive.
Scrapping and Removing Cost of the Server
It only requires an additional Server and the software is completely generic. The cost only involves the purchase of one Server.
Even with a newly-purchased Server, the Client may not be fully compatible. It is difficult to lift and requires additional investment, almost equal to re-investment.
There is small investment in the Server and no need to purchase the hardware Client.
There is large investment for the expensive Server and purchase of the Client.
The system of traditional hardware no-disk workstation relies heavily on the network, and it poses considerable pressure on the Server's CPU and disks. With an unstable Server or network interruption, the no-disk workstation fails to work properly.
With no change in original network structure as well as the software and hardware system, VDM adopts the mode of mandatorily collective storage and distributed computing. It fully makes use of professional storage capacity of the Server and uses hardware in the Client to increase speed and performance of the no-disk system, having a huge advantage over the system of traditional hardware no-disk workstation in business applications.
To sum up, VDM makes the no-disk Client possible via virtualization, no-disk, drives at the bottom layer and safe sandboxie technology, thus securing safety of data, simplicity of management and stability of application of the entire system. It provides a cost-effectively whole solution to computer application system for modern enterprises, therefore widely applied in mainstream enterprises. It is the best choice for no-disk application system of computers in enterprises.